Book review · novella

Book review: The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion

The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion (Danielle Cain #1), by Margaret Killjoy

9780765397362Description: (from Tor.com)

Danielle Cain is a queer punk rock traveller, jaded from a decade on the road. Searching for clues about her best friend’s mysterious and sudden suicide, she ventures to the squatter, utopian town of Freedom, Iowa. All is not well in Freedom, however: things went awry after the town’s residents summoned a protector spirit to serve as their judge and executioner.

Danielle shows up in time to witness the spirit—a blood-red, three-antlered deer—begin to turn on its summoners. Danielle and her new friends have to act fast if they’re going to save the town—or get out alive.

A story of ancient witchcraft among modern-day vagabonds, and about the hope we find in the strangest of places.

Expected publication: August 15th 2017, part of the Tor.com Summer Line-Up
A review copy (e-galley) of this book was provided by the publisher. Some things might change in the final copy.

I started reading this novella without having read the description first (as I often do…), mostly because it was super short and I was thinking “Well, it’s from Tor Publishing, this can only be good” so you know…

Now I have read the description and what else can I say? Because frankly if the description alone doesn’t make you want to read this I don’t know what else I can do or say. I’ll try anyway because it was too good and I’d feel bad if someone was to miss on this super cool novella.

The main character is a middle aged woman and I LOVED that! She has lived and known pain, and has some very deep and very funny thoughts. She lives her life and we find her here in search of answers regarding a close friend who commited suicide (TW for this, if you hadn’t seen on the description of the novella.)

There is an instance where she has a panic attack and the way it was written was amazing. It was anxiety-inducing but at the same time so well written, so real, that I had to read the passage several times.
Denise is also a fighter, she is used to live on the road and loves that, but she also is aware of the dangers it entails. The events of this novella will show how she is more than ready to act when there is need to.

“I didn’t open my juice because that took both hands, and I don’t follow strange men into the darkness without at least one hand free for fighting.”

Right from the beginning, the first person Denise encounters asks her what pronoun she uses before making assumptions and I loved that. I love how books and social-media are teaching us how to be more inclusive and that this is a totally normal thing to say to someone.

“Could have been a squirrel, or a bird. Hell, could have been a mountain lion. Better a living mountain lion than an undead squirrel.”

This book is full of awesome elements. There are zombies animals eating people who are bad, a demon deer gone rogue, creepy vibes, a diverse cast of characters, a deep sense of community, a lovely and real w/w relationship with no strings attached, questions about doing the right things… There is a bit of a Supernatural vibe to it, if Supernatural was not so problematic 😉
This novella also made me think a lot, it has ways of thinking not often found in literature or SFF, or at least I hadn’t encountered them yet. Just to give you an idea of what’s going on, here is the author’s bio from goodreads :

Margaret Killjoy is an itinerant author, editor, and photographer whose interests include forest defense, anarchism, and the serial comma.

The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion felt like an origin story. When I finished reading this novella, I felt READY to read some more with those characters and the premise of all of this. I was ready to be all “uhhhh I wish this was a series!!!” all over twitter, but then I found the cover reveal where it is said that it is “The first in a new series” so : I’m happy!

 

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